It's the Beating of That Heart!

In Poe's "The Telltale Heart," an imagined heartbeat drives a murderer to confess his crimes. The heart is powerful in literature, but it is even moreso in reality.

November 12, 2008

1 Min Read
It's the Beating of That Heart!

Image courtesy of William Paul Segars of Johns Hopkins In Poe's "The Telltale Heart," an imagined heartbeat drives a murderer to confess his crimes. The heart is powerful in literature, but it is even moreso in reality. Its so powerful, in fact, that its energy can be used to run implanted devices.A UK-based consortium of companies announced it has successfully designed and clinically tested an in-body model microgenerator that converts energy from the heartbeat into power for implanted medical devices.The Self-Energizing Implantable Medical Microsystem (SIMM) augments existing battery for devices such as pacemakers, and implanted cardioverter defibrillators. In preclinical testing, the microgenerator produced one-third of the energy required to power a pacemaker.The SIMM microgenerator is a catheter-mounted device that would be placed on a conventional pacemaker or defibrillator lead. The device harvests energy by using differential pressure within the chambers of the heart to drive a linear generator. During testing, the device generated one-third of the power required to run a pacemaker (excluding pacing demand). Next-generation microgenerator devices are expected to fully power both the pacemaker and pacing requirements."Taking advantage of a continuous in-body power source, instead of relying solely on batteries, means implanted medical devices supporting advanced diagnostics and therapies can be more easily designed," said Martin McHugh, business development manager with Zarlink Semiconductor's Advanced Packaging group and SIMM project coordinator.Partners in the SIMM project include Zarlink Semiconductor, InVivo Technology Ltd, Perpetuum Ltd, Finsbury Orthopaedics and Odstock Medical.

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